So you’ve finally decided to divorce the narcissist who has made your life a living hell over the last few years. You’re expecting the divorce to be messy and expensive and painful, but you will finally be able to live your separate lives. Except for one thing – you’re going through the process with a narcissist.
Dealing with a Narcissist: Strategies for Success
Divorce is never easy, and it’s particularly difficult when you are dealing with one parent who has a personality disorder. The good news is that you are aware of the problem, and you can now work to mitigate your soon to be ex-partner’s narcissism. Here are some things that you can do to make it easier.
Get a Parenting Plan – Structure Reduces a Narcissist’s Ability to Manipulate
During the divorce, make sure to complete a detailed parenting plan. This is the document that details where your children will be 24/7. Of course, this only applies to couples with children. Make sure you have a detailed and specific parenting plan – and stick to it. Typically divorced couples are not required to stick exactly to their parenting plan as long as they are in agreement. However, when you are splitting up with a narcissist, you do not want to start making accommodations for him or her. The less wiggle room, the better, so develop a visitation schedule that is satisfactory to you and then only vary from it when absolutely necessary.
Use Tools to Clarify Communication
Use an app or paper that makes carbon copies of what you write in order to track communication. Apps are available for co-parenting that track many things, among them emails between ex-partners. Family Wizard will even tell you if the email you are about to send sounds too harsh in order to give you a chance to re-think it. The reason you want to do this is because you want to…
Document Everything – Narcissists are Fantastic Liars
Put everything in writing. Narcissists are notorious for twisting people’s words and actions around to suit their own wants and needs. If something is in writing, they are less able to do this. With documentation you can prove what was said when. You also have something to show your attorney or a judge if you need to.
Set Strong Boundaries – And Enforce Them!
This is a good strategy for life, but is especially important when you are dealing with a narcissist. Let him/her know what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior. If you say something is going to be unacceptable, then follow through on the consequences. For example, if you say that you are only going to communicate with him/her through email, don’t reply to his/her text messages. Follow up with a well crafted email.
None of these strategies will make divorcing a narcissist a great experience, but hopefully they can make it a little less painful.
For assistance with divorce and post-divorce co-parenting problems in the Atlanta Metro Area, feel free to reach out to Gwinnett Mediation at 678-242-9977.